George Bernard Shaw and Christopher Newton: Explorations of Shavian Theatre

Christopher Newton has placed the Shaw Festival firmly on the map world-class theatre. His best Shavian productions are revolutionary re-interpretations of plays that are normally treated as Edwardian period pieces or didactic entertainments. In this first full-length study of Newton, critic Keith Garebian shows how the pairing of Shaw and Newton, that once seemed not bloody likely has become one of the most exciting enterprises in Canadian theatre, with startling results. The book begins with a biographical section that sketches some of the most pervasive influences on Newton's artistic sensibility, and suggests what has particularly inspired his ever-growing fascination with Shaw. Successive chap-ters document Newton's concept of Shaw as a surrealist, and contain detailed descriptions of productions at Niagara-on-the-Lake from 1980-1990. Among other things, readers are shown a Caesar and Cleopatra set in a Shadow Box; Heartbreak House as a dream-play of the night and anarchy; Major Barbara as a double quest; You Never Can Tell as part comic romance, part farcical metaphor; the metatheatrical suggestions of Man and Super-man; and a Misalliance as metaphor of a convulsive new age. As Garebian shows, Newton's approach for all its paradoxes, succeeds in making George Bernard Shaw our dynamic contemporary.